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Full text of "My country and my people"

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LITERARY   LIFE                        S33
(A)  but, yes!
(B)  ah, no!
(A)   ah, yes?
(B)  but, no?
(A)  but, yes!
(B)  ah, no!
Notice that the second Interlocutor always tries to counter the first, while the first always takes up the thread of the second in Its first unit (the "ahs" and Łebuts") but varies the second unit* The exclamation and question marks merely serve to indicate that there are two different kinds of "yeses" and "noes.** Notice that with the exception of the second unit of the first couplet aU the units are properly balanced in tone.
But we are more Interested in the Inner technique and spirit of Chinese poetry than In its prosody. By what Inner technique did It enter that magic realm of beauty? How did it throw a veil of charm and atmosphere over an ordinary landscape and, with a few words, paint a striking picture of reality, surcharged with the poet's emotion? How did the poet select and eliminate his material and how did he inform it with his own spirit and make it glow with rhythmic vitality? In what way was the technique of Chinese poetry and Chinese painting really one? And why Is It that Chinese poets are painters, and painters, poets?
The striking thing about Chinese poetry is its plastic imagination and Its kinship in technique with painting. This is most evident In the handling of perspective. Here the analogy between Chinese poetry and painting Is almost complete. Let us begin with perspective. Why is it that when we read the lines of Li Po (701-762)—
Above the man's face arise the hills; Beside the horse's head emerge the clouds,
we are presented with a picture in bold outline of a man travelling on horseback on a high mountain path? The words, short and sharp and meaningless at first sight, will be found, with a moment's use of the imagination, to give us a picture